Tuesday, February 12, 2008

“We’re ready”

From DEBKAfile, February 12, 2008, 9:37 AM (GMT+02:00):

“We’re ready” – say Israeli generals responding to defense minister’s order to prepare for large-scale ground assault on Gaza

DEBKAfile’s military sources report that the tone - even more than the actual words - heard from chief of staff Lt. Gen. Gaby Ashenazi, air force chief Maj. Gen. Eliezer Shkedy and other generals Monday, Feb. 11, betrayed frustration over the too-little, too-late policies pursued by the government.

A former defense minister Moshe Arens voiced this sense when he said Tuesday: It is unthinkable to place children on Israel’s front line; that’s a job for soldiers.

Prime minister Ehud Olmert and defense minister Ehud Olmert were signaled by Israel’s highest military officers that they were fed up with straining at the leash and being held back from effective ground action to stamp out the Palestinian missiles and terror at source in Gaza.

Ashkenazi told members of the IDF high command Monday night that the IDF had already been issued with the requisite orders and directives to carry out this mission -“subject to approval.”

... Ashkenazi’s words were crystal-clear: “The army stands ready to deepen and expand its operations (in Gaza) as needed in accordance with the decisions reached.” This tossed the ball back to the decision-makers ....

....Air Force commander Shkedi said at a separate venue: “For us, terrorists on the fence and missile fire are unacceptable.”

The OC Southern Command (which includes the Gaza Strip,) Maj. Gen. Yoav Galant, described the situation as “a pressure cooker about to explode at any moment.”

The military intelligence research division head Brig. Gen. Yossi Baidatz said: “Israel’s security and strategic situation in 2008 is more difficult and complicated than it was in 2007....Hizballah has trebled its rocket stocks in the interim [i.e. 40,000 today] and extended their range as far as Tel Aviv."...

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